Key Points for Garage Conversions

Planning Permission?

Planning Permission may not be required subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • Planning permission is not usually required, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building.
  • If you live in a new house or a Conservation Area, it is likely that the Council may have removed your permitted development rights meaning that you may need planning permission to convert your garage.
  • When work is proposed to a listed building, listed building consent may be required.

Working From Home

More and more people are setting up business at home. In planning terms, planning permission would not normally be required if the overall character of your home is not changed as a result of the business being conducted here.

To answer this question, you must ask yourself the following:

  • Will your home be used mainly as a private home?
  • Will there be a noticeable increase in both traffic and people visiting?
  • Will the business generate any activities unusual in a residential area?
  • Will the business have a detrimental impact upon neighbours by virtue of the creation of nuisance and noise or smells?

The Local Authority is keen to ensure that the essential character of your street is not compromised by any business activity going on thereabouts. If it were found that a business were taking place there without the necessary change of use permission, it is likely that the business will be the subject of some kind of enforcement action to either regularise it or halt it. Discuss your business proposal directly with your Local Authority.

Building Regulations?

You do not generally require planning approval to convert your garage into habitable space but you will normally require approval under the Building Regulations.

Walls: If you intend to infill the garage door with a new wall and a window for example, you will require approval. The reason for this is that the garage is likely to have been constructed off a shallow slab and therefore a new foundation required for the new wall.

Floors: Although the existing floor within the garage is likely to be strong enough for home use, it is likely that is will require upgrading to ensure it is adequate in terms of damp-proofing and thermal insulation. You may wish to change the level of the floor to match that of the existing house. The easiest way to do this is to upgrade the existing concrete floor or if the levels permit, construct a timber floor over the existing.

Ventilation:
The Building Regulations require that each new room (including garage conversions), should have adequate ventilation for general health reasons. Depending on the use of that room will determine the level of ventialtion that will be required. Ventilaton can be provided in the following ways:

  • Purge: This can be achieved by opening the window. The opening should have an area of at least 1/20th of the room it is intended to serve. A bathroom can have a window of any openable size.
  • Whole Building: Trickle venitlation is also required and is normally found in modern windows which incorporate a trickle system in the head of the window framework.

Whilst both these forms of ventilation are normally required, this does not preclude alternative approaches to ventilation. Discuss your plans with the Building Control Body.